The Sunday Post #148

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • The weather here continues to warm up and it's supposed to be over 80 degrees today. *sigh* Also the pollen counts are off the charts and even effecting me, someone who takes daily allergy medication. Everyone seems to be walking around sneezing, coughing and with watery eyes. Ah, springtime in Florida! 
  • I was excited to help promote the release of Vanishing Summer by Lora Richardson last week with several special posts. The cover reveal on Monday, an author interview on Thursday, and my review on Friday. (P.S. Vanishing Summer is still just 99¢ on Amazon so you can grab it for less than a dollar!)
  • Congrats to Aj for winning my blogoversary giveaway! And big thanks to all who entered. :)
  • I'll leave you with a throwback to one of my favorites, circa 1986.



Hardcore loved this one. A new favorite. I think my review will go up tomorrow.
Finally... Church's story. Loved Dixie, loved Church. I can't get enough of this series.
Solid second-chance romance. Totally enjoyed it and my review will post later in the week.


Getting Schooled - Emma Chase
Emma Chase is a master at combining swoony + sexy + funny. I'm loving Garrett and Callie. (Side note: I hate this cheesy cover so much. LOL I have a physical copy from the library and every time I finish reading I set it face down just so I don't have to see it. Ha!)

I kind of love that it's ending with Poppy's story. It's been a long time coming. I adore Wheeler - he is the sweetest! Only downside, the male narrator is just okay.



How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Review: Vanishing Summer by Lora Richardson

Lora Richardson
Publication date: March 25, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Format: eARC (276 pgs)
Source: Author



He disappeared four years ago, and I’m to blame. Now he’s back.

I call it the vanishing summer. Everett, my best friend and the first boy I ever kissed, was kidnapped; taken from right beside me. Three months later my mom died. They were both just gone. The bright, fearless spark inside me was gone, too—blown clean out.

I learned that the worst could happen at any moment and with no warning. I didn’t want to go outside anymore. I avoided the woods where Everett and I had played. I hated to let my brother and my dad out of my sight. For four years, I lived with a pounding heart and shaking hands.

But I’m sixteen now, and ready to find my way back to myself, to somehow move forward. Therapy is helping. I let one new friend into my life, and she’s helping, too. I’m trying this new thing where I act like the old me—unafraid and confident and bold. I’m doing scary things and trying not to let them scare me.

Then one night as I’m sitting outside in the dark, Everett walks through the trees and back into my life.
M Y   T H O U G H T S

Fact: I read less YA now than ever.

Another fact: There are a few YA authors who I will continue to read no matter what. That short list includes long-time favorites like Katie McGarry, Julie Cross and Robin Benway – and it also includes Lora Richardson.

Richardson writes contemporary young adult novels that speak to me. There are no fantastical worlds, no over the top drama, no too good to be true characters. What Richardson does best is create down to earth, realistic characters that feel like people you could know in your everyday life - the girl at school, the guy down the street. And she tells their stories with a gentle hand that draws you in and makes you care and feel and hope.

In Vanishing Summer, we meet sixteen-year-old Greta. A girl who is fearful and doesn’t take unnecessary chances. But Greta wasn’t always that way; she used to be bold and daring. That ended the day her best friend was taken away right in front of her – and never came back. Until he did. Until one night he walked out of the trees, stood in front of her, and said her name.

I was me, and he was him, but we weren’t us anymore.

I cared so much for Greta and Everett. I wanted to hug Everett all the time for what he had been through, what he had lost, and his struggle to return to a life he no longer knew. While Everett suffered while he was away, Greta was tormented as well, dealing with guilt that she was somehow responsible. She showed real maturity when she knew she had to give Everett time and space. She wanted to immediately be right back by his side every moment and pick up where they left off and yet she was still intuitive enough to know to give him time. She didn’t push him to share but was there when he wanted to talk. They had such a special connection and were so supportive of one another.

“Do you think I’m going to be okay?” he asked?
“I do.”
“Good. I trust you. If you think so, it must be true.”

The secondary characters were just as appealing. There was a strong family dynamic and it was refreshing to see a family that obviously loved and cared and supported. Greta’s father and brother showed their concern for her, both before Everett returned and after, and I loved their close-knit unit. Everett’s mom, Greta’s friend Meredith, Greta’s boss at the little theater where she worked… they all provided a cocoon of love and encouragement.

Vanishing Summer provided everything I loved in contemporary YA. Characters that I connected with and that felt believable, a story that captured my heart and my emotions, and the hint of a romance that had all the sweetness and yearning of first love. If you’re a fan of contemporary YA, do yourself a favor and experience Greta and Everett’s story for yourself. You won’t be sorry.


Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

Author Interview: Meet Lora Richardson

Did you catch my exclusive reveal for the cover of Lora Richardson's new release, Vanishing Summer, on Monday? This contemporary YA novel is a special story featuring main character Greta, a girl who has spent several years dealing with guilt and grief and is finding her way back to the girl she used to be. And there's Everett, a young man who feels like a stranger in his own life and is also struggling to find his way. I loved this story and you can get it for a limited time for just 99 cents! 

Today I'm thrilled to be sharing an interview with Lora where she shares her thoughts on her characters, her inspiration and her writing process... as well as answering some hard-hitting questions, like yoga pants or jeans? :) I hope you enjoy getting to know a little about Lora and will grab a copy of Vanishing Summer! And check back tomorrow for my review of Vanishing Summer!


Girl Plus Books: Hi Lora! First, thank you so much for the interview! As you know, I'm a big fan of your Juniper series and I recommend them often. I was thrilled when you offered me an advance copy of Vanishing Summer and I was totally captivated by the synopsis. Greta and Everett's story pulled me in from the very beginning and I felt such empathy for them. I'm so excited for others to read their story!

Lora Richardson: Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Tanya! I’m happy to be here, and I deeply appreciate your enthusiasm for my work.

GPB: What inspired the idea for Vanishing Summer? 

LR: My stories always begin with the characters. I get small nudges from them, ideas of who they might be, and as they take shape in my head, I begin wondering what happens to these people. First, a boy and a girl popped into my mind, and they were friends from a young age. But as a teen, the girl was anxious. I didn’t yet know why, but she was fearful and timid, wishing she could be brave like she used to be as a child. The boy was sensitive, but had a quiet strength about him. I decided that something had happened to separate them. Then I knew the separation was because Everett had been kidnapped. In my mind, I was always focused on their reunion, on their healing. It was a very emotional story to write.

GPB: Both Vanishing Summer and the Juniper books have a small town setting. As someone who lives in a large city, it was refreshing to read about characters coming of age in surroundings so different from my own. Was it a conscious choice to set your books in a small town?

LR: I grew up on a farm, and later, in small towns. Now I live in a small city. I like writing about this kind of setting. It makes me feel at home and allows me to sink into the story.

I wanted the Juniper series to be set in a small town because everyone knows your business in a small town, which added a delicious pressure to the lives of my characters. I like to put my characters through some hard stuff, because it feels so good to watch them come out the other side. I wanted to connect Vanishing Summer to the Juniper series in a small way, so I set the book in the slightly more urban setting of Bakerstown, the town the Juniper characters visit sometimes.

GPB: Do you have a hard time saying goodbye to your characters and moving on to your next project?

LR: Yes, very much! The Edge of Juniper was meant to be a standalone book. But I felt adrift after publishing it, and not at all ready to move on to new characters. So I wrote two more books in that series. I still long for those characters and that town, so perhaps I will revisit Juniper someday. I’m already extremely attached to Everett and Greta and their families, so I’m writing book 2 in this series. It will focus on Meredith, Greta’s best friend.

GPB: What made you choose to write YA rather than target another age group (adult, middle grade, etc)?

LR: I think I love to write YA because I married my high school sweetheart. When I think of falling in love, I think of being 16 years old, of having picnics by the creek on my dad’s farm, of the excitement of holding his hand for the very first time, of the hugeness and confusion of my feelings. [GPB: Tell me I'm not the only one who gave a great big sigh and swooned a little at this.]

I might someday write adult novels, but for now I’m still captivated by the extraordinary amount of growth that happens to teenagers. There is so much to explore with regard to the things they learn and experience for the first time, and the ways they become who they are.

GPB: What are your writing quirks (must have certain music playing, etc)?

LR: I must have total silence to write, and if my husband walks into the room, I stop writing immediately. I simply have to be alone to do it. And for some reason, I’m extremely motivated by giving myself a star for completed work. In my calendar, I draw a blue star on every day I reach my word count or editing goal. I hate to see a blank space where the star should be!

GPB: Do you read YA? Any book recommendations? What are you reading right now?

LR: Yes, I read lots and lots of YA. Just last night I finished readingWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour. It was beautiful and intensely heartfelt. Some of my favorite YA books ever:

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Okay, there are a hundred more, but I have to stop somewhere.

GBP: And now for some rapid-fire questions...

Best advice you've ever received? 
LR: Does a quote count as advice? “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” -Shannon Hale

That quote is what allowed me to finally find the courage to start writing.

Describe yourself as a teenager in three words. 
LR: Shy, daydreamer, loyal

Biggest pet peeve? 
LR: Being interrupted when I’m reading.

If you could have three people (dead or alive) over for dinner, who would you choose? 
LR: Can I be honest and say that I’m such an anxious host that this question terrifies me? I wouldn’t be able to relax to enjoy the conversation at all. So I’m going to modify it and say which three authors I’d want to watch have dinner together, with me as a fly on the wall. So I pick Ralph Waldo Emerson, Stephen King, and Diana Gabaldon.

If you could live in any other decade, which would you choose?
LR: 1970s. I would have made a great hippie.

Sweet or salty? 
LR: Sweet

Summer or winter? 
LR: Summer

Coffee or tea? 
LR: Coffee

Yoga pants or jeans? 
LR: Yoga pants

Comedy or drama? 
LR: Drama all the way, with some humor sprinkled in.

GPB: Thanks again for taking part, Lora! I'm so excited for everyone to experience Vanishing Summer!

LR: Thank you, Tanya!


He disappeared four years ago, and I'm to blame. Now he's back.

I call it the vanishing summer. Everett, my best friend and the first boy I ever kissed, was kidnapped; taken from right beside me. Three months later my mom died. They were both just gone. The bright, fearless spark inside me was gone, too--blown clean out.

I learned that the worst could happen at any moment and with no warning. I didn't want to go outside anymore. I avoided the woods where Everett and I had played. I hated to let my brother and my dad out of my sight. For four years, I lived with a pounding heart and shaking hands.

But I'm sixteen now, and ready to find my way back to myself, to somehow move forward. Therapy is helping. I let one new friend into my life, and she's helping, too. I'm trying this new thing where I act like the old me--unafraid and confident and bold. I'm doing scary things and trying not to let them scare me.

Then one night as I'm sitting outside in the dark, Everett walks through the trees and back into my life.

About Lora Richardson:
 As a child, Lora lived on a pig farm. She spent time swimming in the creek with snakes, playing in the hayloft, and tapping out stories on her mother's typewriter. These days she lives in a small city in Indiana with her high-school-sweetheart-husband and their two children. She spends her time reading, writing, and hanging out with her people. She still has pigs, though now they are of the guinea variety.

You can find Lora here: * FACEBOOK * TWITTER * GOODREADS * INSTAGRAM *

WWW Wednesday #46 | March 27, 2019

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.


I Want You Back - Lorelei James
This is my first by Lorelei James and for the most part I'm enjoying it. While the dialogue sometimes doesn't ring true, I like both the main characters and I'm all about a second chance romance. Jaxson is a recently retired pro hockey player so it's got bonus points already. :) Fingers crossed that this ends up being a winner.


The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves
Another 5 star read! I don't know what it is, but 2019 seems to be my year for amazing reads - and I'm not complaining! This latest from Tracey Garvis Graves became an instant favorite. I adored Annika and Jonathan and even an event near the end that had me on the fence at first ended up working for me. Review is coming next week! 

I just finished listening to the audio of Riveted this morning on my way into the office. I really enjoyed getting Church and Dixie's story but the ending left me a little wanting. It was a little abrupt and instead of the (very brief) epilogue giving me more of Dixie and Church it was mainly jut a set-up for the next book in the series.

I've read and loved Emma Chase's Royally series and have seen nothing but raves for Getting Schooled. I picked this one up from the library - despite the completely cringey cover. (Ugh.) I also have My Favorite Half-Night Stand on hold at OverDrive and should have it any day. Looking forward to more Christina Lauren!

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Audiobooks

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Favorite Audiobooks

Sometimes it's the story, sometimes it's the narrator(s), sometimes it's the combination of the two. I've become a huge fan of audiobooks over the last few years and have both favorite audiobooks and favorite narrators. When the right story is matched with the right narrator... it's magic. It's a unique experience to have a voice pulling you into the story as you hang on their every word. In no particular order, here are my favorites. 

Becky Albertalli
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Length: 6 hrs 45 mins

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met. 

I've read Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda twice but I've listened to it countless times. (If I had to guess I'd say 10 times at least.) And I said this list was in no particular order but if I had to pick a top favorite, this is the one. Michael Crouch absolutely embodies Simon in all his teenage self-awareness, angst and humor. 

The Others series #1
Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Length: 18 hrs 33 mins

Synopsis: As a "cassandra sangue," or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut--a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard--a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she's keeping a secret, and second, she doesn't smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide if she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow. 

Alexandra Harris voices the entire Others series and truly brings main character Meg Corbyn to life, along with all the other inhabitants on the Lakeside Courtyard. Meg has a sweet, almost childlike quality and Harris's voice presents that perfectly. Every character's voice is so distinctive that there is never a question as to who is speaking.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Narrator: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Length: 18 hrs 35 mins

Synopsis: For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath—both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.

Listening to What Happened, in Clinton’s own voice, was a worthy, eye-opening experience – both for the political aspect and the candid look at the woman behind the politics.

Liz Nugent
Narrators: Sam O’Mahony, Roy McMillan, Kevin Hely, Tracy Keating, Stephen Hogan, Kathy O’Brien, Steven Laverty, Michele Moran
Length: 6 hrs 50 mins

Synopsis: Oliver Ryan, handsome, charismatic, and successful, has long been married to his devoted wife, Alice. Together they write and illustrate award-winning children s books; their life together one of enviable privilege and ease until, one evening after a delightful dinner, Oliver delivers a blow to Alice that renders her unconscious, and subsequently beats her into a coma.

In the aftermath of such an unthinkable event, as Alice hovers between life and death, the couple s friends, neighbors, and acquaintances try to understand what could have driven Oliver to commit such a horrific act. As his story unfolds, layers are peeled away to reveal a life of shame, envy, deception, and masterful manipulation. 

The narration was perfection and played such a big part in my enjoyment of this one. The voices, the accents, the delivery – all were so distinct and brought the story to life. Having a full cast definitely added to the overall enjoyment.

Royally Series #1
Emma Chase
Narrators: Andi Arndt, Shane East
Length: 9 hrs 39 mins

Synopsis: Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, a.k.a. “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face. Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King...or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

Andi Arndt and Shane East narrate all four books in this series and they are just perfection. Each story is funny and sexy and swoony and the voice work from Arndt and East brings every single character to life. I can listen to each book in this series again and again.

Anna Kendrick
Narrator: Anna Kendrick
Length: 6 hrs

Synopsis: Anna Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays amusingly recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.

Listening to this on audio is definitely the way to go. Anna's dead pan delivery and sarcasm are so suited for this format. There were several laugh out loud moments and, even though this wasn’t anything life-altering, it was totally entertaining.

Amber Smith
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Length: 9 hrs 36 mins

Synopsis: Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

This was top-notch storytelling. Eden's story was horrific and the aftermath of her attack was heartbreaking. Her every thought and action was defined by that horrific act. And hearing Eden tell her story, hearing her thoughts and her words, hearing her anguish... it made an incredible impact.

Marked Men series #1
Jay Crowover
Narrators: Sophie Eastlake, Michael Rahhal
Length: 10 hrs 18 mins

Synopsis: Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn't want - and the only person she's never tried to please. She isn't afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won't listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess - and his dead twin brother's girl. She lives by other people's rules; he makes his own. He doesn't have time for a good girl like Shaw - even if she's the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love...or each other.

I'm showing the graphic and synopsis for Rule, but this is really for the entire Marked Men series. I've listened to the entire six book series multiple times and these characters have become old friends. While I've enjoyed some narrators more than others, they each brought something new and gave the characters life and an individual voice. Even blindfolded, I would be able to listen to any one of the Marked Men novels and know just who was speaking. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrators: Alma Cuervo, Jill Whelan, Robin Miles
Length: 12 hrs 10 mins

Synopsis: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn's luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn's story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.

After reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo last year I almost immediately wanted to re-read it. I decided to listen to the audio version for the re-read and what a fantastic experience. Alma Cuervo in particular was captivating as Evelyn and her delivery totally captured Evelyn's larger-than-life persona.

The Cruel Prince
Holly Black
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Length: 12 hrs 36 mins

Synopsis: Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

I switched to the audio version when I initially found the start of The Cruel Prince to be a bit slow-going. The narration was done well and went a long way in helping me get invested in the plot. Caitlin Kelly voiced each character uniquely and it was always obvious who was speaking. She was able to impart emotion so well with Jude and it added a lot to particularly dramatic or emotional scenes.

Do you listen to audiobooks?
What's your favorite?